How to Format XBox 360 Hard Drives

This guide will show you how to format (erase) one or more of the hard drives in your Xbox 360.

Time needed: 5 minutes.


Perhaps you’re selling your system, maybe you want to start fresh – whatever the reason, here’s how you can format your Xbox 360’s hard drive (or drives, if you have more than one). These steps also apply to a “flash drive” connected to your Xbox.

  1. Exit out of any currently running games and go to the Xbox 30 Home Screen.

    Navigate to the settings section and then select System.
    The Xbox 360 Settings menu with System highlighted

  2. Select Console Settings.

    Use the A button to select Console Settings.
    The Xbox 360 System Settings with Console Settings highlighted

  3. Select System Info.

    Use the A button to select System Info.
    The Xbox 360 Console Settings with System Info highlighted

  4. Locate the Console Serial Number and write it down.

    If you don’t have a pen and paper handy, take a picture of the screen with your phone.
    The Xbox 360 System Info screen

  5. Return to the System Settings.

    This time select Storage from the list of options.
    The Xbox 360 System Settings with Storage highlighted

  6. Select the hard drive you want to format (erase).

    Make sure to select the correct hard drive if you have more than one – this process isn’t reversible and all of the data on the drive will be wiped out. Instead of using the A button, use the Y button to open the Device Options.
    The Xbox 360 Storage Devices list

  7. Select Format from the list of options.

    Use the A button to select Format.
    The Xbox 360 Device Options window with Format highlighted

  8. The Format Device window will display a warning message.

    Highlight the Yes line item and use the A button to select it.
    The Xbox 360 Format hard drive window

  9. You’ll be prompted to enter your Xbox 360’s Serial Number.

    Highlight the Enter Serial Number line item and use the A button to select it.
    The Xbox 360 Format Hard Drive window

  10. Enter your Xbox 360’s Serial Number

    Use the on-screen keypad to enter in the serial number you made note of back in step #4. Highlight the Done button on the virtual keyboard and use the A button on your controller to select it.
    The Xbox 360 Format Hard Drive serial number window

  11. The hard drive will now be formatted.

    The process only takes a few seconds so you’ll want to stay nearby.
    The Xbox 360 Formatting Device in progress

  12. Once the format has completed, return to the Storage Devices section.

    You’ll see that the drive is now completely empty.
    The Xbox 360 Storage Devices list with the Hard Drive formatted

  13. If you have more than one drive, simply repeat steps #6 through #11.

    Most Xbox 360’s only come with one drive, and it can be called the Memory Unit rather than “hard drive”.
    The Xbox 360 Storage Devices Memory Unit

That’s it! Your Xbox 360 will now have an empty drive. If you need any additional help with your console, see the official Xbox Support site.

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